Bahrain will be making their Olympic debut after winning the Asian Men’s Olympic Qualification Tournament. Only the winner of the eight team tournament qualifies to the Olympics. The tournament was held in Doha, Qatar from October 17th to October 26th 2019.
Group A was won by 2018 Asian champions Qatar as they went undefeated against Hong Kong (49-19), India (40-10) and Saudi Arabia (29-20). Also advancing to the semi-finals was Saudi Arabia whom defeated both India (35-24) and Hong Kong (41-16). India finished third thanks to a 32-29 victory over Hong Kong during the final game.
Group B saw a bit of an upset on the opening day as Iran held on to defeat South Korea 28-27. Iran would however, lose to Bahrain 29-26 on the next match and a 36-36 draw against Kuwait caused the nation to finish third in the group. On the final match day between Bahrain and South Korea, the latter was able to push for a 31-30 victory, allowing the nation to finish first in the group while Bahrain advanced as the second placed team.
The semi-finals had both Group B nations advance over their Group A counterparts thanks to a South Korea’s 29-26 victory over Saudi Arabia and Bahrain’s 28-26 win over Asian champions Qatar. The final saw South Korea take a 15-13 lead at the end of the half, but it was Bahrain which controlled the match to win the title and Olympic quota 34-29. Third place was won by Qatar who defeated Saudi Arabia 31-21.
South Korea will have one more opportunity to qualify to the Olympics as they will compete at one of the Final Olympic Qualification Tournaments. The next continent to have their men’s qualifier will be Europe to be held in January.